Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Cooler Review
Features and Cooler Design
Courtesy of Phanteks
- Dual Tower U-Type Heat sink
- Four 6mm Heat-Pipes
- Patented P.A.T.S (Physical Antioxidant Thermal Shield)
- Patented C.P.S.C (Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology)
- Dual PH-F120HP PWM fans
- SoliSku universal mounting kit
- Phanteks PH-NDC thermal paste
The PH-TC12DX CPU cooler from Phanteks is constructed with a dual-metal design, using copper and aluminum to maximize the cooler's cooling and heat dissipation capabilities. Copper is very good at absorbing heat, while aluminum is very good at dispersing heat between mediums. The copper-based CPU base plate and heat pipes absorb the heat while spreading it along the pipe length. The aluminum radiators then transfer the heat from the heat pipes to the air blowing through it. Phanteks uses a nickel plate coating to protect the copper from unnecessary harm and wear (from sources such as accidental scratches, oxidation, or corrosion). The nickel-plate is thin enough to minimize its effect on the copper's heat absorption capabilities while adding a more durable finish to the copper portions of the cooler. Additionally, Phanteks used their CPSC technology to apply a black coating to the finned-radiator, giving it a sleek look without inhibiting the aluminum's heat dissipation performance. The cooler's radiator tower was designed with an 11 FPI (fins per inch) fin density, giving a good balance between surface volume for heat transfer and air pass-though spacing between the radiator fins.
From the side, you can better see the thickness of the radiator tower at just over double that of a standard fan (at 25mm thick). The four heat pipes form a U-shape, terminating on the top of each side of the radiator. The heat pipes are fixed to each aluminum fin layer of the radiator, giving support and strength to the structure. The interface is cleanly done, with no apparent solder or manufacturing residue present.
Phanteks prettied up the top of the PH-TC12DX cooler with an aluminum top plate, stamped with their corporate logo and treated to match the rest of the radiator layers. The top plate not only hides the heat pipe termination points, but holds the dual radiator structure together. The cooler is actually composed of dual square radiator towers. The front and rear faces of the radiator tower is shaped with lips along both sides to hold the fans in place. Along the radiator sides are channels for fixing the fan clips to the tower.
The bottom of the cooler is machined flat and polished to a mirror like finish. No machining marks are evident on the base, further demonstrating the superior job in the unit's construction and design.
The base for the PH-TC12DX cooler is a three layer affair sandwiching the copper heat pipes in between the bottom and middle layers. The base consists of the steel mounting plate, and upper and lower copper plates, all held together by the large thumbscrew in the top center of the base. The screws to hold the cooler to the mounting cage are on wings that extend just outside the front and back of the radiator tower. The hold down screws are spring loaded and fixed in place with lock washers.
Mounted to an ATX form factor Z87-based board, the cooler's front radiator comes right up to the edge of the board memory slots, with the front fan overlapping the slot closest to the CPU. Phanteks designed the fan to have some upward mobility to compensate for this, or the fan could be removed entirely. The rear fan slightly overlaps the upper VRM heat sink, but has enough height to clear it. Phanteks also designed the cooler to be rotated 90 degrees so that air flow goes between the PCI-Express slots and the case's top panel.
The cooler mounting screws can be seen sitting underneath the front and rear fans, interfacing with the board mounting plates.
The cooler's back plate is a steel construct with a minimal footprint X-shape. You should have no issues with the back plate resting on or crushing chips in close proximity to the CPU sockets back plate.